In general, mediation is voluntary process in which an unbiased, impartial third party helps people negotiate with each other to create and develop their own agreements.  Divorce mediation focuses on the couple, their children and the well-being of the entire family as it transitions into a new family structure.  In this self -determining process, the mediator, as a neutral party, helps to put the decision making in the hands of the couple by guiding and facilitating the voluntary agreements they make with each other.

In mediation, the parties determine for themselves what is ultimately in their best interest and the best interest of their children.  Mediation puts the decision making into the hands of the participants and with the guidance of the mediator the parties work through the issues until they reach mutually agreeable resolutions.  The spirit of mediation is that there are no winners or losers, including, of course, the children.  

Mediation does require a willingness to cooperate, full disclosure, and an ability to negotiate in good faith. We welcome couples who may feel uncertain of their ability to mediate together.  Our experience has shown us that couples who may fall in that category find that once they come to the table, they are able to talk through their differences, find common ground, and negotiate a workable solution that benefits them both.

After completion of the mediation, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is written up.  This is a document that details all of the agreements that have been made between the parties.  The MOU can then be converted into a legal document (either a Separation Agreement or Stipulation of Settlement).

What if the mediation fails?

If the mediation fails, the parties can be put back to the contested divorce calendar. If the mediator is an attorney, this attorney cannot litigate for either party in divorce due to the conflict of interests. The parties must retain new attorneys to represent them in the litigation. 

How long does the mediation take?

Normally the mediation takes about 6 months or longer. The parties can communicate with the mediator privately.

What is the cost for mediation?

Divorce mediation is generally cheaper than the litigation. Because the parties each need to hire an attorney in the litigation, however, they can share one mediator (who can be an attorney, or social worker and etc).

What is the benefit if you hire an attorney to be the mediator?

Attorneys understand the law better. The attorney can quickly get the points and try to find the resolution. After they reach the agreement, the attorney can draft the stipulation for the parties.